"Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one."
One of our beloved church members has been sending me her reflections on the Lord's Prayer for a few months because it is a source, like a deep well, of spiritual insight, far more than this short prayer might indicate at first glance. And her deep insights have renewed my own love for the prayer that Jesus taught us. Recently I recalled the story of a saint who made it her chief spiritual practice to say the Lord's Prayer each day with perfect attention to its meaning, word by word and phrase by phrase, (which is harder than it sounds).
Jesus teaches us to pray like a parent would teach a child - breaking down the concept of prayer into such a simple and straightforward way, while at the same time inviting us into a much deeper and profound lesson about who God is, who we are, and what our purpose in life is. We learn that God is someone we can approach as we would a beloved parent, who longs to hear from us just as we long to connect with them, because, indeed, we are God's children. Our purpose involves seeking God's will for our lives and this world while attending to life's daily needs, even as we are working towards forgiveness and reconciliation. Thankfully, we can lean on God's help to keep us from falling into sin or worse. All of that, and much more, is packed into these six sentences.
I also love that, even with the distance between us, we have the chance to pray these words together in worship, reminding us that we are together and one in Christ.
What do you learn and notice as you pray these words from Jesus with intention?